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Humans have been leaving their mark on every blank space they could find for the last thirty thousand years. Blank cave walls? Marked. Trees? Marked. Crop fields? Marked. Fire hydrants? Marked... by stray cave dogs. Suffice it to say, the urge to leave one's mark resonates deep within us all, and to that end, check out this sweet Instructable that demonstrates how to BURN your mark into a helpless piece of wood! Muhahahahah (cue dramatic prairie dog)!

Seriously though, if you want to burn something into wood, and you don't own a sweet wood engraver, this is a perfect way to get the job done.


  1. Aluminum foil tape
  2. Something to burn your mark into (wood works well)


  1. Exacto knife, or equally sharp razor blade
  2. Large magnifying glass (3" or larger)
  3. Dark sunglasses (for ocular protection)


Depends on how sunny it is, how dense your burning material is, and how well you can focus your magnifying glass. An hour seems like a good estimate.


  1. Slap a piece of foil tape over your burning material, and make sure it's good and stuck.
  2. Using your Exacto knife or razor, cut out the design you'd like to burn, making sure you cut through the tape, but not too deeply into your burn material.
  3. Carefully peel up the shapes you've outlined with your razor, and make sure the edges of the tape are pressed back down.
  4. Using your big magnifying glass, carefully focus a concentrated beam of sunlight onto your cut-out design.
  5. Moving from the edges toward the middle, burn your material enough so that it turns black, but not so much that it catches fire.
  6. After you've successfully burned all your designs into the material, pull off your tape and marvel at your engraving work.

The foil tape will reflect any mis-aimed sunlight beams, so when you peel back your tape, you should have nice sharp lines surrounding your designs. Give it a shot when the next sunny day rolls around, which shouldn't be long, seeing as we're still in the dog days of Summer. Please don't use this technique to burn designs on to your skin... or anything you don't own. Other than those two caveats, have a blast!

[via LifeHacker]


  • Gary McGarity

    Don't exactly get this... You never mentioned tape in materials, then suddenly you're saying be careful with the tape??? Please email me with further instructions, I want to try this.

  • Dan Chilton

    Gary: the first item listed under materials is "aluminum foil tape."

  • 2 Comments / 1 Pages

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